Tata Communications, seeking to raise its profile around the globe, announced a technology partnership with Formula One motor racing on Thursday in a further sign of the sport's growing appeal in emerging markets.
Tata Communications will use its undersea cable and IT networks to transmit data from the 20 grand prix locations as the circuit tours the globe and also support the Formula1.com website.
Financial details and the duration of the deal were not disclosed, but Tata Communications Chief Executive Vinod Kumar told a news conference "it's a lot of money."
Baboos and Bande Mataram
Kumar said that Tata Communications needed to raise its profile and enhance its credibility with potential business customers in a deal that differs from the traditional form of sponsorship where companies get their name on cars.
"There is no better brand for us to associate ourselves with," said Kumar, adding that the company had looked at other global sports such as golf and tennis before settling on Formula One.
Kumar said that selling the company as the technology partner for something as complex and high-profile as Formula One would be "a showcase for its business-to-business customers".
Turbulent times for the 'King'
"If we can do it for Formula One, we can do it for anyone else," he added at a news conference attended by Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone.
India staged its first Formula One grand prix last October and Ecclestone has in recent years targeted emerging markets for what was previously a championship staged largely on European circuits.
Ecclestone said he was "very, very proud" of the progress the sport had made in India, the world's second most populous country, adding that people there had not heard of the sport as recently as four or five years ago.